Friday, March 21, 2014

VPA Student Spotlight: Daniel Grayvold

Daniel Grayvold, a Sound Design major, recently received a Regional Sound Design Award for his non-realized design of  the play "Royal Hunt of the Sun."

1. Why did you choose to major in Sound Design at Tech?

Sound and the technology behind it has always been a passion of mine. Michigan Tech naturally has a focus on this, and I found what they teach to be congruent with what I wanted to learn. I also like the style of education that the Visual and Performing Arts department employs; the faculty does a lot of hands-on teaching and allows for creative freedom with the work we do. All of this made coming to Tech a no-brainer.

2. What has been your favorite part of working in Sound Design?

The ability to work with other students and see how they tackle problems has been fantastic. I’ve learned so much just by observing what others do and thinking about how I could apply that to my own projects. There is never a dull moment in the VPA department, and that above everything else keeps me enthusiastic.

3. What is the most important thing you have learned in your major?

Experimentation is the key. There is always a new sound just to be found, and by trying new things and coming at a problem from different angles you can often find a solution that is both unique and wonderful. Some of my best ideas have come from this, just trying out something that seemed silly at the time.

4. What inspires you?

Other people never cease to amaze me with what they can come up with. But it’s not just that—I find inspiration in nearly everything. Even something that originally appears mundane can cause a spark and give me an idea for my next project. I remember a sound workshop that I went to in high school. A friend of mine and I created a song in our free time just because we were inspired by the sound of a coin dropping onto a table. Any time I hear a new perspective in sound or music, I am reminded of why I chose to do what I do.

5. What are your goals after graduation?

My ultimate goal is to become a movie composer, but I’d like to work as a filmmaker, too. Movies have always captured my imagination and I want to someday take part in creating that same wonder for others.

6. What advice would you give others hoping to major in Sound Design?

Never be afraid to try something new and unexpected. Be yourself, no one can do that better. Speak up when you think that you have a good idea, and give people a good reason to remember you. You never know when that random person you meet will be impressed with your work and offer you a job.